The dangers of ordering medications online and of receiving illegal, potentially dangerous counterfeit products are highlighted in an investigative report by WFMY News in Cleveland, OH. Reporters ordered Lipitor® and Viagra®, two of the drugs most commonly purchased online, from three Web sites that they believed appeared to be legitimate pharmacy Web sites. After their medications arrived from “exotic locations” including China, India, and Pakistan, the reporters took the medications to be analyzed by Pfizer’s lab in Groton, CT. In addition to receiving a generic version of the brand-name Lipitor they paid for, lab analysis also revealed that one of the medications was contaminated with diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory medication, reports WFMY.
The report highlighted information from the NABP Internet Drug Outlet Identification Program Progress Report for State and Federal Regulators: October 2013 (PDF) and cited the Association’s finding that of more than 10,500 Web sites selling prescription medications nearly 97% operate out of compliance with pharmacy laws and practice standards which have been established to protect public health in the United States and many other developed countries. The news program also recommended that consumers consult the list of recommended sites that have been accredited by the NABP VIPPS® (Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice SitesCM) accreditation program. The list of VIPPS-accredited sites is available at www.AWARErx.org.